Creating Community Online:
Recently I realized something. In a saturated sea of online influencers… I’ve always wondered what my “secret sauce” was. You know, the think that makes you different, unique, etc. For me it has ALWAYS been community. I’m going to share more about this in upcoming posts, but for now I think it’s super important for you to know that I’ve always had a wide variety of friends and acquaintances. I’ve made them through school, at work, in college, at the grocery store (yep it’s happened), at church… the list goes on and on.
Looking back especially to high school, I always had a random assortment of friends. My best friend was basically the “it girl” of our high school. Long story short, I wasn’t (hah!). My friends ranged from the kids who sat in their basements playing dungeons and dragons on Friday nights to the Homecoming Queen. I was kind of friends with everyone I guess? Granted I wasn’t a “cool girl” so there were some major run-ins with bullies and mean girls, but that’s high school. Amiright? So really I’ve always tried to just befriend everyone unless they gave me a reason not to.
Now, How does this Relate to Blogging?
I didn’t see the correlation here until a couple months ago. I knew I wanted to craft this into a community rather than just a space for me to talk about myself, but I didn’t realize how my IRL and online friendships would shape that. Until now…
Everyone is Welcome here. Random enough, I found this Motto from this pillow I bought for the new house. Really though, that’s what I want here. I want EVERYONE to feel welcome.
Cool girls, “losers”, loners, Homecoming Queens, Mamas, college girls, girls waiting to be mamas, girls who don’t want to be mamas, plant ladies, cat ladies… well, you catch my drift here I’m sure. EVERYONE. Quite Literally.
One of the first lessons you will learn when you start blogging (if you do things right). Is that you have to fall into one of two categories: inspirational or aspirational. Inspirational is attainable. It’s putting something out there that the “everyday girl” can achieve. It’s realistic. Now aspirational would be something that you hoped one day you could achieve. This would be the blogger who only shares luxury pieces when you shop at Target or the travel blogger that is in a new location weekly… that isn’t feasible for you, but you love the content.
TGG has always been and will always be here to share INSPIRATIONAL content. Content that you can implement into your daily life… not something you have to create 100 steps over a 5-10 year span to achieve.
How do you Achieve this?
- Put out content that is relate-able. Home decor that doesn’t break the bank, trips that are achievable for the average person, clothing and beauty that doesn’t cost what the average person’s mortgage does…
- Speak in your own voice. I find that the bloggers and influencers I love following along with the most are truly just themselves. You feel like you’re their friend just from consuming their content. I’m sure you know what I mean here.
- Share the real story. Often I see so much “staged” content floating around it feels like we live in a sea of fake-ness. I think the best way to battle this is to share the story behind a post. Make fun of how you changed in the street to get the shot or how many funny looks you received. A great example of this is Rach Martino. She does such a great job at sharing the story behind her posts on instagram.
- Live within your means. I know, this is so taboo to talk about, but really. Don’t buy things just to shoot that you never wear. Don’t share things from brands you wouldn’t normally buy if they weren’t gifted to you. Really though. It speaks fake and it doesn’t translate well to an audience. It also causes you to lose their trust. That’s why I talk about how Rent the Runway has helped me stay on budget being a style + lifestyle creator! I wouldn’t be able to go out and buy 90% of the pieces I rent from there! Duh! It’s fun though and I always tag them in my posts and #myrtr when something is Rent the Runway.
- Be kind. I know this seems like a duh, hello… be nice to people. Really though. It’s necessary to share this because I have experienced the negative side of this from other influencers and it isn’t good business. Example? Don’t talk crap about people and then be their BFF in person. Don’t treat people differently because of how many followers they have. (Recently I’ve seen bloggers change their own persona based on how many followers they have gained like they think that makes them something.) Nope, it doesn’t! Also don’t change your community based on the followers you have or don’t have. A HUGE mis-conception in our industry is that you need to collaborate with those who have the same # of followers or audience size. That is and isn’t true. For example: if you find someone who is your ride or die and you grow a little faster in some areas than they do, don’t stop collaborating and hanging out with them. Some of my blogger besties have fewer followers than me on IG, but way more on other platforms. Another example is partnering with people outside your demographic to reach a new audience or partnering with someone in a different niche altogether!
Trending Fest 2018:
Now let’s chat #Trending Fest! So excited about this. Come hang with me and my girl Katie from Pearls and Twirls and several other amazing bloggers and influencers from the Knoxville area. The event is going to be held at The Hive and is from 6:00-9:00! More details below!
I hope this gave you some tips for creating community online. This is honestly one of the most important aspects of blogging in my opinion and something you certainly shouldn’t lose focus of no matter where your journey may take you!